The star was crying as she made the admission during a radio interview with Ryan Seacrest this morning.
The 42-year-old seemed reluctant to officially make the announcement but told Ryan, who is the host of the TV talent show, that her time as a judge is up.
She choked up as she said: “It’s just really going to be hard for me to go. It’s just one of those special things in your life that you just don’t want to walk away from.”
And the star, who was a judge for two seasons, insisted her toing and froing over the decision had nothing to do with trying to garner a bigger paycheck.
She told Ryan: “It wasn’t ever playing any games or doing anything or wanting more and more money. It wasn’t any of that. It was just being smart about making a business decision and I had to really be responsible in that moment.”
Jennifer added: “You don’t want to shut the door completely, but you know, the time has come.”
Ryan also confirmed the news on his Twitter page, posting: “Just confirmed w/ @JLo she’s made up her mind…will leave idol. 🙁 gonna miss her.”
It comes just one day after her fellow judge, Steven Tyler, revealed he was quitting the show to focus on his band Aerosmith.
True to his idiosyncratic character, Tyler wrote in his statement: “After some long … hard … thoughts … I’ve decided it’s time for me to let go of my mistress American Idol before she boils my rabbit,” TMZ reports.
The 64-year-old was making reference to a scene from the film Fatal Attraction – in which a deranged woman kills her lover’s daughter’s pet rabbit.
He went on: “I strayed from my first love, Aerosmith, and I’m back – but instead of begging on my hands and knees, I’ve got two fists in the air and I’m kicking the door open with my band.”
Steven admits he ‘loved every minute’ of his time on American Idol after having ‘over-the-top fun’, but he is now committed to ‘bringing rock back’ with the I Don’t Want to Miss a Thing hitmakers.
Tongues were wagging over whether or not Jennifer would also be departing following hints she made during an appearance on the Today Show yesterday.
The mother-of-two mused: ‘Maybe it’s time for me to go. It’s been on my mind a lot, as you can imagine, and now it’s like, “Do we continue on this journey?”
‘I’ve loved it so much. I enjoy the show so much… It’s a tough decision either way.’
There are also rumours that the third and final judge, Randy Jackson, may be axed to make way for an entirely new panel.
It seems Jennifer could be replaced by Mariah Carey, after reports surfaced that the diva is in ‘serious talks’ to sign on.